I've been listening with escalating rage, to his "Worker Self Directed Enterprises".
-The products you make
-The distribution of profit.
-The direction of the business.
There were a few other points, but I can't find the exact spot. Essentially, he is talking about 'criminal theft'... That's how I see it because he speaks about "not the shareholders or the capitalists, but the workers decide how the business will run, what it will make, and how the profit will be distributed".....
Why does my rage escalate? It's simple...I am a manufacturer of electronic devices and I suppose I am.....a 'capitalist'... I am the one who saved every cent he could find while working for another 'capitalist', then slammed ever dollar from my super annuation, long service leave, savings (such as they were) into starting my own business. (My total startup funding was $19,000) In doing so, I was putting our home on the line... (we still had a mortgage to pay) and everything I'd managed to build up over the preceding 9 yrs while working for the other 'capitalist'.
Now... this bozo is telling me that those who have invested zero in my business, not having been exposed to the slightest 'risk' (as I was) my 'workers' can just waltz in and start telling me how it all should run and where the profit should go. This is the bit where I get very angry because it amounts to criminal theft.
There are more holes in Wolff's theories than in a slice of Swiss cheese. In fact there are so many I'm not going to list them all.
-Who, among these 'workers' is the new 'boss'?i.e.. the one who cuts through the babble and crap that people with limited experience and training come up with and finalizes a decision about direction? Even with a committee you have to have a strong chairman to give direction, shut big mouths up, and deflate the egos of ambitious ignoramuses. How in this wide world, can a person who has been 'loading circuit boards' know about the engineering side of the product? How can they know about the cost implications of doing this way or that?
THE CRUNCH.... What if.....the business, now in the hands of the 'workers'.....suffers some reversals and even loss? (which is as certain as night follows day) will they be happy to have their pay cut to accomadate a 'bad month' ?
I can see the 'blame game' quickly escalating into a shouting match from people who still have regular mortgage payments to make or who have just bought a new car, or have just had another child...... "what... reduce my pay?????? in your dreams pal" they say. That raises the obvious question about....'where' would money come from to sustain peoples wage levels through tough times?
So, these 'workers'
-Have been exposed to no risk
-Have paid/invested nothing to 'capitalize' the business. (Land, Factory, Machinery, Engineering)
-Now want the profit shared among them.
-Want to decide the direction of the business.
Now don't forget.. the downside...but Wolff won't speak about that!
-Share the LOSSES....
And Wolff claims 'capitalism is broken'!....no.. all the ills of capitalism he refers to are not ills of Capitalism they are ills of people! Greed, lust, desire for power, and a bunch of other things.
If you think about Wolff's presuppositions, he becomes a ludicrous hypocrite. Marxists don't believe in God....ok..fine.. take that non belief with you to the fires of Hell...that's your decision...no one is going to drag you kicking and screaming into Heaven... but Wolff's 'worker' might suddenly find himself confronted by the fact of a world without God is purely primal. You know...the rule of tooth and claw, or among the human race.. guns and bullets. It also means that we are just 'animals'...albeit sophisticated and intelligent ones. Therefore...by this drongo's world view... 'why not' is the answer the 'evil primal capitalist' can give to Wolff about why he ruthlessly exploits his workers and tries to extract every ounce of labor from them without the slightest regard for their dignity, well being, or life span.
In truth, some enterprises and bosses of the American industrial revolution and growth of industry were exactly like that. "Some"....Henry Ford was not...he was paying his workers $5.00 a day for 8 hrs when other car makers were paying something under $3 for 10 hours..and Ford had no Union to force him...he did it for the benefit of his business and it's workers. Nothing wrong with Capitalism if the Capitalist him/herself is ok.
BUT...BUT..WHAT ABOUT THE MONDRAGON WORKER COOPERATIVE IN BASQUE...SPAIN?
This the usual case trotted out by the likes of Wolff and his pack of trendy Marxists. They claim this is a wonderful example of how the "workers" can do all the wonderful things he speaks about above.... but you know what? It is absolute bull shit! (excuse). Have 'close' read of the Mondragon saga and you'll find some telling signs of the true capitalist nature of this enterprise.
i) First thing to note is that they had to have 'capital'... I don't know where it came from but I suspect it came initially from or through the Catholics Church given the founder of these cooperatives was a Catholic Priest named José María Arizmendiarrieta.
ii) Then there is a very 'capitalist' valuation of human capital to the whole enterprise...
At Mondragon, there are agreed-upon wage ratios between executive work and field or factory work which earns a minimum wage. These ratios range from 3:1 to 9:1
Sooooo... people are paid according to their education and training and value to the company... 'workers' are paid less than an engineer or a 'manager'..but wait.. I thought it was 'the workers' who ran the show???
iii) International market forces. On the international stage, the aim was to respond to the growing globalisation process, strongly promoting expansion abroad by setting up production plants in a number of countries. The first, the Copreci plant in Mexico in 1990 was followed by many others taking the total to 73 by the end of 2008 and 122 at the end of 2013. This was part of a strategy aimed at: increasing competitiveness and market share, bringing component supply closer to important customers’ plants, especially in the automotive and domestic appliance sectors; and strengthening employment in the Basque Country, by promoting the export of products manufactured by the co-operatives by means of the new platforms.
See it? Trace through the italicized paragraph above, and the first thing you notice is.. they established factories in....wait for it.. low labor cost....MEXICO! It mentions also.. 'competitiveness'... but for this you need.. expertise..engineers to get the product cost down.. materials engineers, production process engineers.. managers accountants..and voila.. you have come full circle and you have a typical 'capitalist' enterprise. The difference might be, that.....the 'profits' are now spread among 'the workers'.... I wonder if the bloke at the bottom of the skill ladder gets the same as the engineer who came up with the whizz bang new cost saving method?
One more point....Mondragon employees/workers agreed to a pay CUT of 7.5% so they could all keep their jobs.. ah hah!.... there you have it.. in a worker controlled enterprise in a global environment... means you will suffer.. losses! at times. (But wait...you've opened up a factory in Mehico.... aaaah.. salvation.... huh? Isn't that what Wolff rants about that the 'evil' capitalists did that decimated American jobs?.....
and so this sorry saga of soppy socialist stupidity goes on... now remember one thing in all of this... who get's to keep his job, and keep his nice pay packet while yours is slashed...? can you guess? Of course it's Richard Wolff!
As I've often said..there is big money to be made by advocating for 'the poor'.
Not that this matters to the money makers like Wolff... oh.. a P.S. to all this 'glow' about Mondragon... wait for it.... take a deeeep breath... here it is:
Membership of Mondragón co-operatives is typically linked to financial investment by workers in their businesses. One of the demands of the workers occupying the Edesa plant is that individuals who have invested capital in Fagor should not be penalised by the firm's collapse. It is not clear whether these investments, including extra voluntary savings made by some people, will be saved.
Oh...really??? These workers don't want to lose their capital investment...but what about the average business owner who has sunk his home equity into his business.. what about him? NO ONE wants to lose their investment. But that's life.. for the business owner and the worker... you win on the swings and lose on the roundabouts!
RIP Richard Wolff.....No... how about he rest in eternal torment!!! for the damage his whacky nutjob ideas are doing to America!